Gulf War veteran's pedal power in aid of post traumatic stress sufferers
Gulf War veteran Ian Wright is getting on his bike for a 300-mile charity marathon to help fellow sufferers of post traumatic stress disorder.
The 52-year-old former soldier, who is still affected by his experiences during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, is hitting the road to support a charity which supported him.
Ian will ride from his home in Lostock Hall on March 8 to the headquarters of Driven To Extremes in Devon in just three days.
“I’m an ambassador and it’s a charity which is close to my heart,” he said. “They help so many people with PTSD and do some wonderful work.”
Ian was first diagnosed with severe PTSD and anxiety 14 years after he left the forces.
Driven to Extremes organises driving adventures around the world and Ian went on one in 2015, driving a Vauxhall van from Europe’s most western road in Southern Ireland to Asia’s most eastern highway in Siberia.
He fist started having anger issues in 1999, but wasn’t diagnosed with PTSD until another charity, Combat Stress, identified his condition in 2006.
The illness cost him two marriages and he is still having therapy 28 years after going to the Gulf.
“Those anger issues still affect me,” he said. “You never get cured, you just try and learn how to manage it. The road trip with Driven to Extremes really helped me. And now I just want to put something back for what they have done for me.”
Ian is no novice in the saddle – he has competed as a cyclist in the Invictus Games and also in the Warrior Games.
“I’m at my happiest when I’m on a bike, cycling is my biggest therapy,” he said. “I know 300 miles in three days is going to be tough, but I’m up for it.”
Driven To Extremes supports military veterans suffering from PTSD, by giving them the opportunity to take part in challenging vehicle expeditions around the world.
The ultimate aim is not only to help veterans with their recovery, but also to provide them with employment, organising and leading adventure tours for paying customers.
Among the adventures this year is the Sahara Rally, which sets off next month and sees participants tackling the original 1,000-mile Dakar Rally course across the desert in an ageing Citroen Berlingo. The trek will take up to three weeks, starting from Gibraltar.